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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
People v. Bonilla
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
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- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
Bonilla (Defendant) shot Miranda in the head. At the hospital, Dr. Rosenberg declared Miranda “brain dead” and had his kidneys and spleen removed for transplant purposes. The medical examiner, Dr. Wald, verified that the bullet wound was the cause of death and testified that brain death had occurred, though it could not be determined exactly when. Dr. Wald also could not conclude how long Miranda might have survived in a brain-dead state if his organs had not been removed. Dr. Beresford, a defense witness, testified that Dr. Rosenberg used insufficient tests to determine brain death, and Miranda may actually have been alive when he was pronounced dead. At the time of trial, the definition of death in New York was unsettled. Defendant was convicted for the homicide and appealed, arguing that Miranda’s death was caused by someone else under any definition. Defendant asserted two alternative arguments: 1) if the court follows the traditional definition of death, described as the stopping of heartbeat and breath, then Miranda was alive until his organs were removed and life support was ended by the independent, intervening acts of the hospital doctors or 2) if the court understands death as occurring when a person is declared brain dead, the inadequate tests used by Dr. Rosenberg resulted in an incorrect determination of brain death, and Miranda was alive at the time life support ceased.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.